Increased Use Of Antibiotics To Fight COVID-19 Will Lead To More Deaths – WHO

This handout image provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) on May 22, 2020 in Geneva shows WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attending the 147th session of the WHO Executive Board held virtually by videoconference, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus. Christopher Black / World Health Organization / AFP
This handout image provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) on May 22, 2020 in Geneva shows WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attending the 147th session of the WHO Executive Board held virtually by videoconference, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus. Christopher Black / World Health Organization / AFP

 

Increased antibiotics use in combating the COVID-19 pandemic will strengthen bacterial resistance and ultimately lead to more deaths during the crisis and beyond, the World Health Organization said Monday.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said a “worrying number” of bacterial infections were becoming increasingly resistant to the medicines traditionally used to treat them.

The UN health agency said it was concerned that the inappropriate use of antibiotics during the coronavirus crisis would further fuel the trend.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased use of antibiotics, which ultimately will lead to higher bacterial resistance rates that will impact the burden of disease and deaths during the pandemic and beyond,” Tedros told a virtual press conference from the WHO’s Geneva headquarters.

The WHO said only a small proportion of COVID-19 patients needed antibiotics to treat subsequent bacterial infections.

The organisation has issued guidance to medics not to provide antibiotic therapy or prophylaxis to patients with mild COVID-19, or to patients with moderate illness without a clinical suspicion of bacterial infection.

Tedros said the guidelines said should help tackle antimicrobial resistance while saving lives.

He called the threat of antimicrobial resistance “one of the most urgent challenges of our time”.

“It’s clear that the world is losing its ability to use critically important antimicrobial medicines,” he said.

Highlighting inappropriate usage, he said there was an “overuse” of antibiotics in some countries, while in low-income states, such life-saving medicines were unavailable, “leading to needless suffering and death”.

Disease treatment disrupted

Meanwhile, the WHO said the prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) had been severely disrupted since the COVID-19 pandemic began in December, following a survey of 155 countries.

“This situation is of significant concern because people living with NCDs are at higher risk of severe COVID-19-related illness and death,” it said.

The survey, during a three-week period in May, found that low-income countries were most affected.

Some 53 percent of countries reported partially or completely disrupted services for hypertension treatment.

The figure was 49 percent for diabetes treatment and related complications; 42 percent for cancer treatment, and 31 percent for cardiovascular emergencies.

The most common reasons for discontinuing or reducing services were cancellations of planned treatments, a decrease in available public transport, and a lack of staff because health workers had been reassigned to COVID-19 treatment.

Mass gatherings risk

The WHO warned about the dangers of mass gatherings, as protests rage in the United States and elsewhere over the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd, and as sports events begin a tentative resumption.

“Mass gatherings have the potential to act as super-spreading events,” warned Tedros, highlighting WHO guidance designed to help organisers determine how such events can be held safely.

The WHO was asked about the street protests in the United States and the fear that they could increase the spread of the virus.

“With increasing social mixing and people coming together, particularly in areas if the virus is not under control, that close contact between people can pose a risk,” answered the organisation’s COVID-19 technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove — stressing that she was speaking about mass gatherings in general.

People planning mass events should undertake a “very serious, rigorous risk assessment”, she said.

“Physical distancing remains a very important aspect to control and suppression of transmission of COVID-19. This is not over yet,” the expert said.

S.America yet to peak

The novel coronavirus has infected at least 6.2 million people and killed more than 373,000 since the outbreak first emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP.

WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan said that infection rates in South America were “far from stable” following a rapid increase in cases.

Brazil, Peru, Chile, and Mexico were among the 10 reporting the highest new number of cases in the past 24 hours.

“Central and South America, in particular, have very much become the intense zones for transmission of this virus,” Ryan said.

“I don’t believe we have reached the peak in that transmission and, at this point, I cannot predict when we will.”

Drug-Resistant Superbug Spreading In Hospitals – Study

 

A superbug resistant to all known antibiotics that can cause “severe” infections or even death is spreading undetected through hospital wards across the world, scientists in Australia warned on Monday.

Researchers at the University of Melbourne discovered three variants of the multidrug-resistant bug in samples from 10 countries, including strains in Europe that cannot be reliably tamed by any drug currently on the market.

“We started with samples in Australia but did a global snapshot and found that it’s in many countries and many institutions around the world,” Ben Howden, director of the university’s Microbiological Diagnostic Unit Public Health Laboratory told AFP.

“It seems to have spread.”

The bacteria, known as Staphylococcus epidermidis, is related to the better-known and more deadly MRSA.

It’s found naturally on human skin and most commonly infects the elderly or patients who have had prosthetic materials implanted, such as catheters and joint replacements.

“It can be deadly, but it’s usually in patients who already are very sick in hospital… it can be quite hard to eradicate and the infections can be severe,” Howden said.

His team looked at hundreds of S. epidermidis specimens from 78 hospitals worldwide.

They found that some strains of the bug made a small change in its DNA that led to resistance to two of the most common antibiotics, often administered in tandem to treat hospital infections.

“These two antibiotics are unrelated and you would not expect one mutation to cause both antibiotics to fail,” said Jean Lee, a PhD student at Melbourne’s Doherty Institute, and co-author of the study.

Many of the most powerful antibiotics are extremely expensive and even toxic, and the team behind the study said that the practice of using multiple drugs at once to prevent resistance may not be working.

‘Biggest danger’

The researchers said they believe the superbug is spreading rapidly due to the particularly high use of antibiotics in intensive care units, where patients are sickest and strong drugs are prescribed as routine.

The World Health Organization has long warned of antibiotic overuse sparking new strains of killer, drug-resistant bacteria.

Another Australian study, published last month, suggested some hospital superbugs are growing increasingly tolerant to alcohol-based disinfectants found in handwashes and sanitisers used on hospital wards.

Howden said his study, published in the journal Nature Microbiology, showed the need for better understanding of how infections spread and which bacteria hospitals choose to target.

“This highlights that the use of more and more antibiotics is driving more drug-resistant bacteria,” he said.

“With all bacteria in a hospital environment we are driving more resistant strains and there’s no doubt that antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest dangers to hospital care worldwide.”

W.H.O Tells Farmers To Stop Using Antibiotics On Healthy Animals

courtesy: thesagenews.com

The World Health Organization (W.H.O) has urged farmers on Tuesday to stop using antibiotics to promote growth and prevent disease in healthy animals because the practice fuels dangerous drug-resistant superbug infections in people.

Describing a lack of effective antibiotics for humans as “a security threat” on a par with “a sudden and deadly disease outbreak”, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said “strong and sustained action across all sectors” was vital to turn back the tide of resistance and “keep the world safe”.

The WHO “strongly recommends an overall reduction in the use of all classes of medically important antibiotics in food-producing animals, including complete restriction of these antibiotics for growth promotion and disease prevention without diagnosis,” the United Nations agency said in a statement.

Any use of antibiotics promotes the development and spread of so-called superbugs — multi-drug-resistant infections that can evade the medicines designed to kill them.

According to the WHO’s statement, in some countries, around 80 percent of total consumption of medically important antibiotics is in the animal sector. They are largely used in healthy animals to stop them getting sick and to speed up their growth.

The WHO said such use should be halted completely. In sick animals, it added, wherever possible, tests should first be conducted to determine the most effective and prudent antibiotic to treat their specific infection.

Some countries have already taken action to reduce the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals. The European Union has since 2006 banned the use of the drugs for growth promotion.

Consumers are also driving a demand for meat raised without routine use of antibiotics, with some major food chains adopting ‘antibiotic-free’ policies for meat supplies.

The WHO said alternatives to using antibiotics for disease prevention in animals include improving hygiene and farming practices, and making better use of vaccines.

Ondo Task Force Tackles Fake Drugs Sales

drugs in ondoMembers of the Ondo State Task Force against Counterfeit and Substandard Drugs have launched actions against the sale and consumption of fake and counterfeit drugs in the State.

The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dayo Adeyanju, who led the team to some pharmacies and patent medicine stores in Akure, the State Capital, said the government was out to ensure that all the drugs sold in the state were of standard quality.

The team visited pharmacies and patent medicine stores in the city with a Truscan Machine to test the quality and originality of the drugs being sold to the members of the public.

The team visited the pharmacy of the State Specialist Hospital, where all the drugs tested passed, indicating they were of standard quality.

The test was carried out on antimalarial, antibiotics and analgesics.

Dr. Adeyanju explained that the operators of pharmacies visited that had drugs that failed the test had been directed to remove the drugs from stock. According to him, further tests would be carried out on them.

He warned that any pharmacy or patent medicine store found selling illicit drugs would be arrested and their premises shut.

On his part, the State Coordinator of the National Agency for Foods Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Wole Ojo, noted that “any drug that fails the test will be mopped up and destroyed by the agency”, adding that those selling such drugs will be surcharged.

According to him, the crusade has started in Ifon, Ose Local Government Area of the State and it would be taken to all the towns and ‎villages across the state.

One of the stores visited for inspection was shut down by NAFDAC for selling injection equipment without due authorisation.